May 11, 2011

Perseverance

Lately we've seen a few of our fellow, smaller, family members succumb to the pitfalls of laziness. To protect the anonymity of the innocent, I won't mention any names...but I was having a lively discussion with Chloe on this very topic one day in the not too distant past. Come to think of it, Bennett and Gavin and I also had some heart to heart communication regarding this same ugly word. We saw this "little" problem rising it's head quite frequently and weren't sure what to do about it.

After reading the Bible and asking God how we can help our children through this slippery slope, he showed me a few passages that were encouraging and my mind started to formulate a plan. First, here were the two passages that stood out to me:

Romans 5:3-4 ... but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Psalm 143:4-6...Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled. I remember the days of old, I think about all your deeds, I meditate on the works of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you;

This got me thinking. What if, along with our 'Thankfuls' at dinner, we also each go around the table and talk about something we persevered through that day? That way we can encourage one another in the 'hard' thing. Also, they (meaning the children) can see that they're not the only ones who have challenges in their days. Mommy and Daddy have daily challenges and they need to hear how (if they can't be there to witness them) we meet them and handle them. Sometimes we confess that we could have handled something better. Other times we explain how hard it was to make the right choice but we did it anyways and feel better for it - even if we didn't feel that way at the time. They know that they'll have a table full of people to cheer for them when they get home that they persevered.

And the hope is, that they'll see that persevering is a much better choice than laziness. Laziness is the opposite of perseverance. It's feeding your own selfish desires and not character growing. Or hope giving. It's been fun watching the kids get excited about our latest tradition. As soon as they get home from school they'll tell me, "Mom, guess what the thing I persevered through today was...." and I'm like, "WAIT - don't tell me till dinner, everyone will want to hear it!" I'd say it's working.

The second verse about meditating on God's works also struck me profoundly. When David (who wrote that Psalm) was distressed, frustrated, in a bad place, he cried out to God over his problem and then remembered all the works of God, whether it be in his own life or his nation. He remembered that the hard time doesn't last forever, that God is faithful, that his suffering is growing his character.

That's exactly what I want the kids to gain from voicing their experiences in 'suffering' and then persevering. I want them to bring to mind all the other times they went through a hard time and see where and how God brought them through it. Sometimes he rescues us from the hard time. Most often He's right there with us in the midst of it. Either way, remembering Him and what He's done in their lives and the lives of those they love, should bring comfort when deciding to continue making the hard but right choice.

Are we cured of laziness? Nope. But we're discipling them in the way they should go and trusting God to work on their little hearts and convict them when they have a choice to make from now on. Whenever they chose the opposite of laziness, they know they have a table full of cheerleaders. Right now, that seems to be a good incentive.

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